Here we are, a few days before the end of the year 2012. Now that we have survived the end of the Mayan calendar, it seems another year is rapidly approaching like a locomotive without breaks.
But before you leave 2012 in the dust, take some time to reflect on and celebrate the successes you had this year — personal and professional. Did you meet expectations you set from your previous New Year’s resolutions?
It is often easy to point out what did not go well, because people instinctively strive to right their wrongs. However, focusing on the “brighter” moments’ of the year heightens your awareness of what is possible in the times to come.
Here is a three step process to bring “positive things” to light in the New Year:
Meditate to Practice Mindfulness: Evidence indicates that mindfulness meditation leads to well-being through increases in awareness (Shapiro, Oman, Thoresen, Plante, and Flinders, 2008). Set aside five, ten, or twenty minutes a day to settle your thoughts and become actively aware of your self-talk. The more you practice this art, the more you will notice that you lose track of time during this art and can more easily focus your attention on the present moment. Once you are aware of how you think, you can begin to direct your focus in a positive direction.
Write in a Gratitude Journal: In an experimental comparison
, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). Challenge yourself at the end of each day to focus on and write about three reasons you were thankful that day for people or things in your personal or professional life. Having to come up with three reasons to be thankful
each day requires you to be aware of, and even seek out, positive experiences.
Praise the People: Now that you are documenting your gratitude, take the next step and praise your people. When an employee believes his or her superiors are grateful for his or her work, the employee will benefit by having an improved sense of worth to the organization (Kerns, 2006). As a leader expressing your gratitude to the people you lead will be both beneficial for you and them. You will be amazed to see the positive outcomes produced by this simple action.
Remember, leaders are there to serve the needs of the people they lead. What better way to serve than to lead with positive praises?
Take the last few days of 2012 to develop a “praise plan” for 2013 that includes mindful meditation, keeping a gratitude journal, and praising people around you. It will increase the level of positive well-being in all aspects of your life and the lives of those you touch.
“It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.”
-Robert H. Schuller